Restoration in the Community


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A presentation about ecological restoration in the community. Presented by David Gould, Director of Natural Resources for the town of Plymouth, during the Buzzards Bay Coalition's 2012 Decision Makers Workshop series. Learn more at

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Restoration in the Community

  1. 1. Restoration in the Community Buzzards Bay Coalition March 22, 2012
  2. 2. Restoration in the Community    All restoration projects will undoubtedly result in interaction with other landowners, boards and officials and therefore have some level of public participation. Urban restoration projects can be even more complex due to density of landowners, number of concerned parties, infrastructure issues, etc. There will be Community Participation…
  3. 3. What is your approach for Community Participation?  To meet statutory requirements? i.e. Section 106  To say that the community was involved? Or is it to involve the community?  To involve them in the decision-making process?
  4. 4. The need for involvement Who likes to be excluded from the decision-making process?  Who likes to have “others” tell them how something is going to be?  How accepting are people of change in general?  What about change in their backyard? 
  5. 5. Identify the Project Stakeholders  Identify stakeholders  Immediate abutters  Downstream residents  Trail walkers  Fishermen  Others
  6. 6. Meetings      Attempt to create atmosphere for productive discussion Try to have all partners present Minimize jargon (HEC-RAS), acronyms, use proper terms (impoundment) It’s okay to have folks “vent” or “blow off steam” Sometimes you won’t be able to address all concerns and that’s okay
  7. 7. Meetings  At the beginning, during and end of process  Are you meeting after decisions have been made?  Are you speaking to them, at them or involving them?
  8. 8. Post Meetings – keeping people informed between meetings Consider email chains, letters, updates  Provide your contact information in multiple formats  Website, Twitter, Facebook  Face to Face 
  9. 9. Community Concerns         Special Issues 􀂾 􀂾 􀂾 􀂾 􀂾 􀂾 􀂾 Impounded Sediment Structural Deterioration Passage & Habitat Alternatives Property Access Water & Sewer Utilities Historic Values Trail
  10. 10. Community Concerns  Do you really know what their concerns are?  Example: Trails? Really???
  11. 11. Public Perceptions Loss v. Gain – Dam removal projects are a great example.  Loss of “pond”, loss of dam, loss of historic resources….  Gains: Public safety, environmental, cost savings, parks, open space, stormwater, utilities, displays, trails, property values. 
  12. 12. Building Community Support Develop a partnership of local support: ConCom, Steering Committees, BOS, FinCom, neighbors, herring volunteers, watershed organizations, etc.  Be prepared (as much as possible) for public meetings. 
  13. 13. Utilizing Community Involvement What other activities do you or your group do in this area or neighborhood?  Other work can build relationships and trust.  Fish counts, cleaning fish ladders, roadwork.  Neighborhood cleanups, trail work… 
  14. 14. Reasons for Decisions Be aware that different people make decisions for different reasons  Restoration projects are broader than just being “environmental”  Infrastructure, hazard mitigation, cost savings, park/open space, property values, etc. 
  15. 15. Official support Utilize public support  Don’t forget the other reasons people make decisions. FinCom very different than ConCom.   Make it easy for decision-makers to support your project!
  16. 16. Building Long Term Support If you hope to make restoration accepted in your community you need to build upon your successes.  Build upon momentum with projects – even small projects matter!  Build upon your ability to bring in funding  Can you “institutionalize” restoration? 
  17. 17. Restoration Approach Watershed/Process Based Approach  This is a comprehensive approach to protecting and restoring watersheds– fish passage, water quality, stormwater, land protection, open space, monitoring, etc.  Focuses on processes and self sustaining principles  This approach can help build credibility through various projects over time
  18. 18. Programmatic We consider restoration to be programmatic and not a one-time project.  Restoration is part of how we protect and manage resources along with land acquisition, management, enforcement.  Stresses the importance of long term work and stewardship  Allows municipalities and groups to make the most of its resources 
  19. 19. Approach and Citizen Involvement    By incorporating restoration work into programs over time you can build credibility and long term support can be established. This allows you to develop individuals and/or groups that are willing to express support for your projects. Restoration is no longer “odd” but rather an accepted practice
  20. 20. Community Projects       Town Brook – Bridge replacement with rock ramp, two dam removals, one new priority project. Wellingsley Brook – three weirs to be removed (salters) aided by petition to BOS by 75 residents Eel River Headwaters Restoration Project Tidmarsh Farms/Beaver Dam Brook Red Brook Agawam?
  21. 21. Discussion